European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 6) Bill - Second Reading

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:38 pm on 5th September 2019.

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Photo of Lord Bilimoria Lord Bilimoria Crossbench 3:38 pm, 5th September 2019

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Balfe, for that intervention and for the reassurance given by the noble Baroness. Could we know whether the Yellowhammer report will be released to us in full?

I conclude by saying that there is no running away from this. In our upcoming trading relationship with the EU, we cannot run away from the fact that over 40% of our exports go to Europe, while over 50% of our imports come from there. There is no point in saying that the United States economy is bigger than that of the whole of the European Union. It is, but it makes up only 18% of our trade. We need a reality check. Moving to WTO terms will not be a panacea at all. The uncertainty will continue and the irony is that during any negotiation period, if we leave with no deal, where would the negotiations start? They would start with money, citizens’ rights and the Irish backstop. The EU would refuse to engage in any other matters until those three issues had been settled. That is the reality. This deal is not a deal. We have not even started on the real deals for negotiating our trade, our security and the movement of people. All the things that are important to our future are yet to be negotiated. It is essential to prevent no deal. It is wrong to call this a surrender Bill. You surrender to the enemy. The European Union is not our enemy but our best friend. You stand a much better chance of negotiating in a friendly and open manner, trusting and being trusted by each other. I have gone through many negotiations in my business life. The more amicable they are, the better the results for both parties concerned.

The right reverend Prelate mentioned “great” Britain, which has always been global Britain. Let us resolve this deadlock and continue to be the Great Britain that countries around the world have always respected.